There isn’t a person alive who can say that they are always ready to roll out of bed and get their workweek started every Monday morning. Yes, Mondays return us to work responsibilities, school stress, and other obligations that we might have delayed so we can enjoy our weekend. Here are Extremely simple ways to make your Mondays better.
Creating your to-do list at the end of the day is a reliable productivity hack for anyone who has trouble turning their brain off at night. On Fridays, write down the things you need to do (I find it helpful to assign blocks of time to each task) so that you know what to expect when you return to work on Monday. This allows you to leave your obligations behind for the weekend and may help you feel less disoriented on Monday morning.
Along with brain-dumping all of my responsibilities for Monday onto a to-do list, I schedule something I lovingly refer to as planning time. This is the time I spend planning for the week. For me, that might involve emailing potential sources, responding to a few emails, or looking at next week to see how my priorities need to shift. But your planning time might be brainstorming time or time to think. You might also consider taking a “creative break” to dance, sing, or inspire yourself for the day ahead. Incorporating at least 30 minutes into your Monday to be proactive can help you feel more in control of your day.
When rethinking Mondays, I noticed exactly when anxiousness crept into Sunday afternoons. My Sunday scariest start around 4 p.m. every week, so I try to distract myself with light exercise. Whether it's a yoga class or some time on my rower, I’ve found that working out a little helps me get over the hump when Sunday scaries start. There’s a reason this works: As SELF previously reported, exercise can help ground you when you’re feeling anxious, and it’s often more effective than trying to talk yourself down. Even deep diaphragmatic breathing can activate your relaxation response and help make Sunday nights and Monday mornings more manageable.
As an introvert, being social on Sunday nights makes me grumpier on Monday mornings, so my Sunday nights are me time. I might make dinner, read a book, or watch something silly. It’s not completely devoid of human contact—I might text or chat with friends on the phone—but I don’t do any Zoom hangouts or social gatherings after 4 p.m. on Sundays.
It might seem like this would make me less pleasant, but getting up 30 minutes earlier allows me to ease into my day. I have to admit, this was much harder (and way more unlikely) before the pandemic, but now that I don’t have a morning commute, I use the extra time in the morning to open my curtains, make coffee (or sometimes lie in bed and scroll on my phone), and remember that I’m more valuable as a person than whatever work challenges are waiting for me this week.
Sometimes, to perk myself up on a Monday, I’ll listen to one of my favorite podcasts,I’ve found that laughing eases me into my morning, so by the time I have to interact with people, I’m a bit more relaxed and agreeable. If funny podcasts aren’t your thing, figure out what brings you happiness. Get creative and see if there’s a small playful element to incorporate into your Monday morning.
Back when I worked outside of my apartment, I’d sometimes get excited for Monday mornings by choosing something colorful or fun to wear. Did wearing something pretty solve all of my Monday woes? No, it didn’t. Did it make me a little more excited to hurl myself out of bed on Mondays? Sometimes it did.
Listen, sometimes Mondays suck. It’s okay if we don’t optimize our mood to be the most enthusiastic and productive versions of ourselves. It’s okay if you have to give yourself an entire pep talk to get out of bed. If, your Monday mood feels more like an endless season of Mondays, don’t be afraid to talk to someone you trust, or even a medical professional, about how you’re feeling. Getting out of bed right now can be tough, and you might benefit from additional support to help you sort through all of the feelings you might be experiencing on Monday and beyond.